iChat for iPhone: Why it's coming, when it's coming, and who it might hurt

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by GrindedDown, Apr 23, 2010.

  1. GrindedDown macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    One of the big questions surrounding the iphone and Apple's set feature and app list has been: why is there no iChat client yet?

    So after reading an article on gizmodo (Gizmodo iChat article) I have come to a logical conclusion as to why we have not seen it yet.

    Apple and AT&T's relationship has been an exclusive one. As most of you know, the exclusivity is set to expire on June 29th of this year, shortly after a scheduled "corporate event" at WWDC. An iphone version of ichat would threaten AT&T's profitability from phone plans:

    "If we can grab our phones, pull up the buddy list we see on our computers, and engage in a video call, then why wouldn't we also be able to do a quick text chat? And if we can do both of those things, what's to stop us from just doing voice calling?" - Wilson Rothman @ Gizmodo
    If that is the case, then what is to stop us all from lowering our rate plans to minimum and using iChat as our primary communication?

    So, why no iChat until now? First, as with the appearance of the leaked iPhone 4, Apple wants a full-fledged version (with video chat and all). For iChat to be possible you need multi-tasking and Apple thinks we need video chat too. Apple is obviously set in not blowing its wad by releasing all of these major features in one blow. While it may have been possible, iphone growth rate would have certainly deflated, or failed to increase as steadily, in the long-term when it has less and less killer features to add to future revisions.

    The features have been trickled out (multi-tasking, faster processors, etc..) to support an iChat system. Despite the possibility of wide spread use of iChat (certainly much larger than Skype or other third-party apps) threatening AT&T's business model somewhat, AT&T will have no choice but to play ball. Verizon would certainly jump at the opportunity of this iphone revision should AT&T cry "no" or threaten to increase data rates to compensate.

    I would say with 99% certainty (nothing in life is 100%) we will see an adequate feature-set, iPhone friendly iChat with the next iPhone. This may even help lower our monthly costs associated with owning an iPhone.

    Now, when is rev. b iPad with iChat being released?

    UPDATE: As of right now, all claims regarding carrier exclusivity and possible contract ending dates come from unidentified sources and are unsubstantiated.

    UPDATE: Source information has been found through extensive search. Alan Vazquez @ limitededitioniphone.com Details and quote posted in page 1 of this thread. Alan is a developer who has successfully unveiled a couple of exclusive tidbits with the use of his "inside" sources that were proven to be correct.


    Cliffs
    iChat with full features coming
    AT&T has to allow it or someone else will
    ???????
    Profit Spend less
     
  2. Knowlege Bomb macrumors 601

    Knowlege Bomb

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    #2
    This is the first I've heard of AT&T's exclusivity ending this summer.

    Am I that out of the loop?

    As far as iChat, having been a member for a while I've seen the hundreds upon hundreds of threads requesting BBM-like features. I can certainly see Apple dropping a native iChat client and one-upping RIM by including the option for video chat. I'd probably never use it but having the option would be nice.
     
  3. MarlboroLite macrumors 6502a

    MarlboroLite

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    #3
    How is this some kind of paradigm shift? You can already do this through Skype, sans the video chat for now. And even over 3G.

    iChat would simply be doing exactly the same thing skype does, except for video chat, which I assume Skype would also take advantage of if Apple allows the camera to be used by other apps.

    And yet...skype did not kill the telecoms. iChat won't either.
     
  4. macfan881 macrumors 68020

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    #4
    Have you been living under a cave all of the last year and the half there have been plenty of articles even on here that has pointed that ATT's deal is done this this year
     
  5. bigjnyc macrumors 601

    bigjnyc

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    #5
    This definitely seems like a lose/lose situation for AT&T so I don't see how Apple is going to sell this to them. Not only will it prevent people from using text messaging and voice minutes, but it will also put a huge strain on their network...... I think they have been vetoing this for as long as possible but maybe with the end of their exclusive contract coming up they caved in so they can keep the iPhone, and possible extend the contract?
     
  6. GrindedDown thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    @MarlboroLite

    My perspective is that the iChat will have a significantly higher installed user base than other third-party clients like Skype and Fringe will. Supposing it comes installed on all iPhones, everyone will have it. A lot of the users will be users setting up their AIM and Google talk accounts on there. As they begin to use them and discover the feature set, they will be able to communicate much more through iChat than they thought and more-so than any other app.

    There are numerous other apps out there as alternatives to something like iTunes, Photos, or Maps (the Apple apps) that people use, but the installed user base is leaps and bounds greater in the native apps than the third-party alternatives. With the integration expected from an iChat app, the user base will be significantly higher than those using Skype, Fringe, Free SMS apps, and others.
     
  7. GrindedDown thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    I agree completely on both points. With the significantly expressed interest from other carriers (Verizon in particular) and the end of AT&T's exclusivity, the timing of this is perfect.

    Why did Apple not try this when their contract expired after 3G launch? As stated in my "article" the feature set and processing power was not in place. That and the interest from other carriers was not at the fever pitch that it is at now. The stars seem to have aligned for this....
     
  8. Knowlege Bomb macrumors 601

    Knowlege Bomb

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    #8
    Yes. Under a cave. For a year and the half. Definitely.
     
  9. thelatinist macrumors 603

    thelatinist

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    #9
    Presence of an iChat client in the 4.0 beta would confirm a feature in the 4G that Apple hasn't yet announced. This is enough to explain its absence without speculating about AT&T's contract with Apple. Occam's razor.
     
  10. TSX macrumors 68030

    TSX

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    #10
    Who knows for sure well get iChat? Yea we all saw the leaked pics, but apple has pulled features from the product at the last minute. Like the iPod touch had the camera removed and the iPad looks to have had a front facing camera too. But who knows it would be nice to have iChat.
     
  11. GrindedDown thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #11

    That's sharp harsh :p (touché if you will)

    I agree 100%, but that is not necessarily evidence that will prove that it is coming. All it could simply mean is that the compatibly is in place for Apple's R&D dept. to test it on dev. units. Features get pulled all the time. I am providing reasons as to why this feature won't.
     
  12. thelatinist macrumors 603

    thelatinist

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    #12
    My point is that the preferable explanation for the absence of the expected iChat client is secrecy about a future hardware feature for which we have solid evidence than an unexpired contract provision for which we have absolutely none.
     
  13. GrindedDown thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    True. I do not disagree with you at all. If it's worth anything (read: FWIW) I will try to provide and quote my source for the supposed June 29th exclusivity contract expiration shortly.
     
  14. Knowlege Bomb macrumors 601

    Knowlege Bomb

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    #14
    I'm interested in seeing that. From what I remember, nobody was really sure when it was supposed to be ending and quite a few were speculating that it had been extended because of AT&T's exclusivity of the iPad.
     
  15. MacBOS macrumors 6502

    MacBOS

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    #15
    i Just hope that like tethering, we are not excluded from this app to
     
  16. kdarling macrumors demi-god

    kdarling

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    #16
    Or charged so much for video calling that it never becomes popular, the same as happened overseas where almost all 3G phones have had video chat capability for years.

    It's also always possible that Apple will simply yank the camera from production like they apparently did with the iPad.
     
  17. ravensfan55 macrumors 6502

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    #17
    I would probably not use iChat myself. Why? Because text messaging and voice calls are way easier. I'm not going to be walking around holding my phone in my face. Sure, I may use it just to try it out, but its not an exciting feature for me. And I would bet most people would rarely use it as a primary means of communication.
     
  18. TuffLuffJimmy macrumors G3

    TuffLuffJimmy

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    #18
    Living under a cave? Is that a phrase I've somehow never come across?
     
  19. youngplaya0228 macrumors regular

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    #19
    It could be possible that they do that.Imo though, if they indeed do that then it will coincide with a new iPad that also has a front facing camera and iChat abilities. To them, multi-tasking and a small upgrade from the 3Gs should be plenty to hold them over while they focus on getting their iPads sold.

    If it does happen though, then you can definitely add me in the "buy day 1" column on the "are you getting the new iphone" polls.
     
  20. Revelation78 macrumors 68000

    Revelation78

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    #20
    Go back 3-4 years ago and tell me if you thought you needed the Internet on your phone....

    Go back a little further and ask yourself why would you text someone a message when you can just call them...

    Point is, video calls are a communication scheme of the future. If you think you're going to be walking down the street trying to VCall, well, you're an idiot.

    Would I use the feature everyday, of course not. It will be nice to have, and there have been few times in the past when it would have helped/been really nice. I can see a time in the future where initial interviews are done via video calls, obviously when the majority of phones support such a feature.

    Trust me, if you're ever away from a home for an extended period and you have little ones running about, video calls are a god-send. Deployments in the military were a lot easier when you could see the person your were talking to that you haven't seen in several months.
     
  21. GrindedDown thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    Ok so after quite some time of searching my history I found my source.

    From Alan Vasquez over @ limitededitioniphone.com. He writes:

    "My source says that they extended it “for the last time” in mid June of this year. So the AT&T exclusivity contract will end on, none other than, June 29, 2010...Now, it also seems that Apple has booked the Moscone Events Center for June 28 – June 5. Now, it carries the place holder “corporate event” which is something Apple always does. So seeing as though Apple’s keynote is always 1 day after the start of WWDC, guess what that day just so happens to be? June 29, 2010..."

    *Alan misquoted the rumored dates for WWDC in his article. The rumor was for June 28th - July 2nd. The source was from the Moscone website that listed a "Corporate Event" that was momentarily posted and retracted back in December.
    ** Alan is an iphone developer and has made and/or thoroughly helped developed the several apps for the iphone.
    ***Alan's website and reports should be taken with a big grain of salt (obv). He did however have an inside source help him determine successfully exactly how many updates were to be made for iphone OS's 1.x and 2.x when the phones were released. This information could be considered unreliable as no other major media outlets have hinted at exclusivity contract expiration dates other than they are inevitable. He has reported up-to-date information about the Apple community happenings for some time now and has had made exclusive information available before on his site that has been known to be correct.

    Take of this what you will.
     
  22. GrindedDown thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    As a note as well, video conferencing is certainly not a new technology (been in EU for quite some time), but our country and even the world has not been ready for it yet. The way we communicate (twitter, facebook, myspace, several million more ways lol) has changed drastically even over the last 3 or 4 years. It seems like its arrival may be right on time assuming the proper execution.
     
  23. marksman macrumors 603

    marksman

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    #23
    I am not sure how people can ignore a lot of the recent evidence that points to no other carrier but AT&T having the iPhone for a while still.

    At least through the rest of this year and perhaps beyond.

    I haven't seen anything credible in a long time to suggest that is not the case, and several things that indicate AT&T and Apple's partnership is as strong as ever.
     
  24. Carniphage macrumors 68000

    Carniphage

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    #24
    While an iChat feature has not been announced. The Game Center feature has.
    Game Center is supposed to allow game matching. Social gaming and so on.

    Now for this to work, social games need some kind of audio-chat, permitting players to talk to each other during games. If game center does not include audio chat, its going to be useless.

    So some Apple-based internet-chat functionality must be on its way.

    C.
     
  25. GrindedDown thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #25
    ^^^Oooh great point. Native voip would indeed be necessary for it to be what it should be!
     

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